Iron Maiden and Romantic Poetry

When listening to Iron Maidens heavy metal version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” the first thing I notice is the tone of the speaker and the similarity of to Romantic Poetry. In Romantic Poetry it seems that emotion or experiences is meant to be expressed over actually just simply stating something and so the tone in Iron Maidens brings to life the feeling of Coleridges poem. It’s crazy and kind of scary but it also doesn’t need as much words to explain which is why he does a brief introduction and then lots of guitar music. You can feel rather than rely on actual words of the chaotic song which ties into the poem such as

“And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he

Was tyrannous and strong:

He struck with his o’ertaking wings,

And chased us south along.

 

With sloping masts and dipping prow,

As who pursued with yell and blow

Still treads the shadow of his foe,

And forward bends his head,

The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,

And southward aye we fled.”

 

The song is causing the audience to truly feel the chase and really helps to bring to not necessarily life but feeling of this chase.  The length of the song as well really portrays as well the epic and almost spiritual ties in nature, the song really captures the nature and ambiance of the poem.  Especially at the tone shift at around 5 minutes into the song when it goes from super fast and heavy music to slow and dream like and you can hear the creaking of what most likely is the shape. The voice is sage like and it adds to the effectiveness of capturing the romanticist qualities of the original poem because the music alone is capturing the melancholy and appreaciation of the natural ocean settting before restarting the song but this time in a different almost upbeat tone compared to the creepy beginning. The silence is more impactful than the actual words which makes the song more effective and tie into the idea of romantic poetry. This also captures the Romantic qualities of the supernatural with the eerie sounds and feelings of being chased. The words in the actual poem by Coleridge are conveying this through flow like words and descriptive words such as

“With sloping masts and dipping prow,

As who pursued with yell and blow

Still treads the shadow of his foe,”

Really conveying the eerie supernatural factor that Iron Maiden really plays up throughout the song. The ‘shadow of his foe’ is creepy and most likely unwanted. Especially since this has all started as an initial tale by a creepy old man at a wedding and even as you read the actual poem the person who was grabbed was probably thinking ‘omg when will this story end’ and even while listening to the song by Iron Maiden I think at times the audience at some points are thinking the same thing. The ships going fast as they are trace by something yelling is the vivid imagery that can be enhanced by Iron Maidens quick and fast beat song. The calmness before this also juxtaposes the chaos that comes after and I think that really ties into the songs transitional shift where it gets calmer as well. Thus also adding to the eerie supernatural feel as everything seems to be calm but in the song odd noises are heard with a creepy narrator and in the poem odd things are described.

 

 

-Haley Halsey

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2 thoughts on “Iron Maiden and Romantic Poetry

  1. Most Interesting Idea: “The first thing I notice is the tone of the speaker and the similarity of to Romantic Poetry. In Romantic Poetry it seems that emotion or experiences is meant to be expressed over actually just simply stating something and so the tone in Iron Maidens brings to life the feeling of Coleridge’s poem”

    I like the idea that the tone of the song acts as a substitute to the actual poem’s lines. This post could potentially be improved by revising the last paragraph of the post. It might be nice to close read the lines you inserted and remove the really statements. What specifically in those lines is eerie “treading” for example as compared to what?

    Like

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